JOHN P. BRABHAM. Living the life of a retired farmer in the pretty village of Lovington, Moultrie
County, where he has a neat and attractive home, our subject has reached that period of life at
which he may be pardoned if he exalts in his good birth and parentage. In truth he was well born
and a native of the State that boasts so many men who have attained great fame as statesmen and
orators. Almost contemporary with Jefferson, Lee, Harrison and many others of the men who have
enriched the historical pages of their State by valiant word and deed. John P. Brabham, early
grew up with a keen appreciation of oratory and statesmanship, for did he not in his earliest
infancy breathe in the very atmosphere that created orators?
Our subject's father was John Brabham, who was born in Loudonn County, Va. His mother was Mary
Elizabeth Power, also of Virginia. After their marriage they settled in Loudonn County and remained
there for a long time. In 1835 they determined to strike out in a new direction and removed to Morgan
County, Ohio, where they lived for some two or three years. They next removed to Washington County,
Ohio, where the decease of both occurred. It is not remarkable that they did not accumulate much
wealth for they had fourteen little mouths to feed. However, as time passed the little ones grew
to manhood and womanhood, becoming independent and a source of material help and comfort to the parents.
It is a somewhat remarkable fact, that of this large family all reached maturity and had families of
their own. The first break in the home circle was caused by the death of the youngest child, a daughter,
who left two children.
Our subject was the fourth child in order of birth, first opening his eyes in Loudoun County, Va.,
his natal day being on the 14th of April, 1818. With his father and family he went to Ohio when seventeen
years of age and continued under the home roof until his marriage, which event took place December 23,
1840, in Washington County, Ohio, his bride being Miss Doshe E. Webster, a daughter of John and Mary
(Burries) Webster, the former of whom died in Hardin County, Ohio. After the death of her husband, who
was accidentally killed by the discharge of a rifle, Mrs. Webster returned to Washington County and
there remained until her death. She had eight children of whom Mrs. Brabham was the third. Her birth
took place in Morgan County, Ohio, July 24, 1824.
After the marriage of the original of our sketch and his wife the young couple settled in Washington
County, Ohio, and there continued to live until 1867, when he sold out his farm and came to this State
and county, settling in Lowe Township on Section 17. On that place they continued to live until May,
1889, when he rented his farm and removed to Lovington, of which he has since been a resident. When a
young man our subject learned the cooper's trade which he carried on in connection with farming while
he lived in Ohio, but since coming to the Prairie State he has devoted his whole attention to
Mr. Brabham is the owner of two hundred and forty acres, all of which is well improved. The soil,
which is the best quality, has for years been well tilled and the buildings upon the place are substantial
and good. Mr. and Mrs. Brabham are the parents of five children: Diantha C. was the first married to John
Rigg, in Ohio, in 1864, and of that union three children were born--Vesta, Norton M. and Arthur E. For a
number of years she made her home with her parents until in June, 1884, when she again married, becoming
the wife of James Jones, and two children have com to bless this union. Walter and Wilda (twins), the
latter dying at the age of two years. Her two sons by her first marriage still reside with their grandparents
and brighten the homes and lives of the worthy couple. Of the remaining children of Mr. and Mrs. Brabham
the following is recorded: Walter H. died when sixteen years of age, just as the golden gate of manhood
was opening before him and the prospects within its portal seemed so fair; Francis M. married Miss Rebecca
Deeter; Leonidas died when a lad of eleven years; David G. married Miss Hattie Dougherty.
In political affairs Mr. Brabham has taken a fairly active interest and is a Republican by preference. He
has held the office of Justice of the Peace for a long time and has also been School Trustee and School
Director. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and have been so connected
since 1842. Nearly a half-century of church experience and social relationship is theirs, and they have
followed the changes which have taken place in the customs of their church with interest and attention.
Our subject has filled various offices in the church, and has been local preacher for years, also Superintendent
of the Sunday-school, Deacon and Class-Leader. His wife has been a constant and faithful companion in all
his good words and works, and is a woman of beautiful Christian character, whose amiability of disposition,
gentleness and kindly spirit, have ever been an example of good to those around her. Mr. Brabham was a lay
delegate to the Methodist Episcopal Conference held in Bloomington in September, 1891, an always strives
in whatever position placed to advance the cause of religion so dear to his heart.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 257/258
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb